I'm passionate about the topic of aging parents. In fact, I did my Master's thesis on elderly parents' expectations of their adult children. I'm sure this interest came from being so close with my grandmother as a child. Because she lived with us, I grew accustomed to interacting with an aging adult on a daily basis — something most kids these days don't experience.
I also had a great role model in my mother. The way my mother took care of my grandmother so well made an indelible impression on me. I came to understand at a very young age the different stages of the aging process and how the roles between parents and child change.
Now I'm in the role of caregiver. Just last weekend I helped my 76-year-old mother and 80-year-old father downsize into their new condominium after living for 37 years in the same house. What I learned is that this was a move they should have made 10 to 15 years ago; it was hard for them emotionally and physically.
By the time our parents reach the age at which they start exhibiting physical and cognitive decline, we may be busy raising a family and pursuing a career. Taking on the added burden of caring for aging parents is physically and emotionally draining.
It's not an easy task, but if we try to understand our parents' new stage in life, we may develop greater compassion for them and be able to interact with them more effectively and with less frustration.
Here are eight "Cue Cards," or quick behavioral prompts that will improve how you get along with your aging parents and will make their lives better.